Highlights from OTC DASHBOARD’s Q2 update

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The latest quarterly report on the global OTC market is now available on the OTC DASHBOARD website, including data & trends on the market’s performance at a global, regional and Top 20 country level in the year to end-June 2019. Here we highlight some of the key topline trends from this Q2 update, selecting one major global development from each of our company, category and brand watch sections.

Company Watch

M&A activity completed in 2019 has seen a reshuffle in the rankings of the top global OTC marketers; most notably, GSK is now by far the No.1 consumer healthcare marketer globally, following the closure of its OTC merger with Pfizer in August 2019, giving it a 6.8% share. This consolidation has led to the emergence of new competitors, most notably By-Health, which has broken into the global Top 20 and now claims 15th spot.

While decelerating growth in Emerging Markets, especially China, has been a key macroeconomic trend affecting the wider economy and the consumer healthcare industry, one company that has bucked the trend with accelerating growth (+31%) is By-Health. China accounts for over 90% of By-Health’s OTC portfolio turnover, with Australia accounting for the remainder. In China, the company fields brands including dynamic longline range By-Health and glucosamine supplement Keylid, backed by an intensive A+P strategy.

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Category Watch

Analysing the performance of the major OTC categories at a global level, gastrointestinals enjoyed the fastest growth in the MAT Q2 2019 period, with sales up 4.9%. Antinauseants (+15.9%) performed especially well, recorded a strong performance in Asia-Pacific, the largest regional market for GIs, owing to increasing levels of travel and changing diets.

Antidiarrhoeals, antispasmodics & IBS remedies and liver & bile remedies were the other best-performing categories, powered by new product innovation, as explored more fully in our Q2 update. One cloud on the horizon for GIs are the global concerns and recalls affecting antacids containing ranitidine, after some medicines were recently found to contain a nitrosamine impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at low levels — see our previous blog for more details.

Brand Watch

Two OTC brands have global sales of over US$1bn — Vicks (P&G) and Tylenol (J&J) — and both continue to outperform the global OTC market. No.1 Vicks produced above-average growth of 5.7%, despite difficult conditions in the global cough, cold & allergy market.

A strong return to growth in North America for Vicks was at the heart of this upturn, allied with continued strong growth in Latin America, helping to offset the moderate continued decline in Europe. A major factor driving faster growth in North America for Vicks is the sedative & sleep aid range Vicks ZzzQuil, which was boosted by the US launch of a new Pure Zzzs line in 2018. This range has been extended further with Pure Zzzs Kidz in Q3 2018 and several beauty and de-stress gummy supplements in 2019.

Whether you are in the office or on the go, you can access reliable CHC data and trends from OTC DASHBOARD, accessible on tablet, smartphone and desktop, and covering 63 markets across the world. Contact Hannah.Burke@NicholasHall.com to find out how you can benefit from OTC DASHBOARD by setting up a free trial today!

What future for AI in healthcare?

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One of the chapters in Nicholas Hall’s recently published New Paradigms report, entitled The Digital Revolution, provides some compelling examples of consumer healthcare companies and OTC brands that are thriving in the digital era. While key marketers like GSK were slow to invest in digital, the tide is now turning – in its 2018 annual report, GSK said it had “significantly” increased its advertising spend in online media because it is delivering a “far higher return” than traditional TV – despite continuing reservations from some companies like P&G about the way digital budgets are deployed.

One emerging technology that has an uncertain future in healthcare is artificial intelligence. Back in March, a report published by MMC Ventures (in partnership with Barclays) predicted that AI can “unlock a paradigm shift in healthcare”, particularly in diagnosis, drug discovery and monitoring. According to MMC’s research, health & wellbeing is a “focal point” for AI entrepreneurship – 21% of start-ups serve the sector, more than any other sector – and, over the next decade, “developers will have a greater impact on the future of healthcare than doctors”.

An example of innovation here is L’Oreal’s augmented reality and artificial intelligence entity, ModiFace, which has led to the launch of a consumer digital skin ageing diagnostic tool. Targeting women, its first application is Vichy SkinConsultAI – based on ModiFace’s AI-powered algorithm – launched in Canada in January 2019 and rolling out across the brand’s websites globally over the course of this year.

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However, security concerns continue to be the main stumbling block for AI. According to research published in Digital Health last month, public concern about accuracy, cybersecurity and the inability of AI-led chatbots to sympathise may be standing in the way of artificial intelligence’s successful introduction into healthcare.

A University of Westminster-led team surveyed 216 participants on a range of demographic and attitudinal variables including questions about acceptability and perceived effectiveness of AI in healthcare. The results identified three broad themes: “understanding of chatbots”, “AI hesitancy” and “motivations for health chatbots”. The team suggests that designers of AI-led chatbots need to employ user-centred and theory-based approaches to address patient concerns and to optimise user experience in order to achieve the best uptake and utilisation.

Embracing Tech and Digital Health are two of the key themes at our OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference, taking place in London on 14 November 2019! Nicholas Hall will be joined by experts from companies including Bayer, Mundipharma and J&J to review these issues, as well as others impacting our industry, including the status of Medical Cannabis in Europe, Growing Brands through Innovation and the ultimate theme of ensuring that you are Keeping Consumers in the Spotlight. To find out more, or to reserve your place, please contact jennifer.odonnell@NicholasHall.com without delay!

Pfizer-GSK j-v approved, Pfizer-Mylan to close mid-2020

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At the end of last week, it was announced that GSK and Pfizer have closed their j-v, combining the groups’ respective consumer healthcare businesses to create the world’s largest CHC company. According to the latest MAT Q1 2019 data (see table below), this new entity – which will operate globally as GSK Consumer Healthcare – will become the standout No.1, increasing its global share from around 4% to roughly 7%, though of course divestitures will be necessary. Those already identified include ThermaCare (by the EU authorities) and Pfizer’s antacid tablet business (by the Brazil authorities), while some OTC brands (like Viagra Connect) will stay with Pfizer.

As previously announced, under the deal Pfizer owns a 32% equity stake in the j-v and GSK owns 68%. The combined company, which will be led by CEO Brian McNamara, will take leadership positions in pain relief, respiratory, VMS and therapeutic oral health. The new business will also hold the No.1 CHC spot in the USA and the No.2 position in China. As part of the agreement, Pfizer has appointed three of the nine members of the j-v’s board. GSK intends to separate the j-v as an independent company via a demerger of its equity interest to its shareholders and will list it on the UK equity market.

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In the same week, Pfizer announced plans to enter into a definitive agreement to combine Upjohn, its off-patented branded and generics business, with Mylan. The new company, which will be renamed and rebranded when the transaction closes (expected mid-2020), will expand the capabilities of both Mylan and Pfizer across 165+ markets. Mylan brings a diverse portfolio across many geographies and key therapeutic areas, while Upjohn brings iconic brands such as Lipitor, Celebrex and Viagra and leadership positions in China and other emerging markets.

The combination will drive a diverse portfolio of Rx medicines, complex generics, OTCs and biosimilars. It will be based in the USA and led by Mylan’s current Chairman Robert Coury, who will serve as Executive Chairman. Pfizer shareholders will own 57% of the new company and Mylan shareholders will own 43%. The new company is expected to have pro forma 2020 revenues of US$19bn-20bn.  

Commenting on the deal, Nicholas Hall said: “The new company will be a top CHC player, owing to Mylan’s 17th ranking, plus the Viagra Connect business and sundry other Pfizer CHC brands that didn’t go into the GSK j-v. That could well move NewCo into the Top 10. The questions in my mind are: will NewCo keep these assets or sell them on; and (more importantly) will it license out the rights to what is one of the best switch portfolios in the industry or manage the switches themselves.”

The evolving OTC market will be under the spotlight in our forthcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Other chapters will include Healthcare Trends, Regulation, Digital engagement amongst many others. Nicholas will also unveil the 15 “Infinity Zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. You can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to pre-order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

GSK, RB pull out of running for Pfizer OTC

Last week was a dramatic one for M&A news in the OTC industry. In the days running up to the deadline for binding offers for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, both RB and GSK announced they had withdrawn from the process. 

RB’s CEO, Rakesh Kapoor, said: “Our priority remains organic growth, including the completion of the integration of Mead Johnson Nutrition and creating further value from re-organising into two new business units — Health and Hygiene Home … An acquisition for the whole Pfizer consumer health business did not fit our acquisition criteria and an acquisition of part of the business was not possible.”

GSK’s CEO, Emma Walmsley, later commented: “While we will continue to review opportunities that may accelerate our strategy, they must meet our criteria for returns and not compromise our priorities for capital allocation.”

All three companies are in the Top 6 globally, and a tie-up between No.6 RB and No.5 Pfizer would have created a new No.1 globally. Meanwhile, if the current No.1 GSK had acquired Pfizer, its lead would have been significantly enhanced – see the chart below for a sense of what might have been (assuming both GSK and Pfizer would not have had to make divestments).

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Investors have reacted positively to the news of no M&A deal, sending shares in both RB and GSK higher. In the latter case, some had been concerned that the potential US$20bn deal could have distracted from GSK’s focus on pharma, and jeopardise its dividend.

After RB’s withdrawal, Pfizer stated that it “continues to evaluate potential strategic alternatives for the CH business, which include a spin off, sale or other transaction, and Pfizer ultimately retaining the business. We have not yet made a decision, but continue to expect to make one in 2018.”

Nicholas Hall, in Friday’s OTC.Newsflash, commented: “I recently addressed a group of private equity and hedge fund investors about the future of CHC, and all they wanted to talk about was RB, GSK and the disruption of the industry by private label and Big Tech. The investment community is very concerned about the growth prospects of the CHC industry, and that is one of the reasons strong signals were sent to RB not to overpay for Pfizer Consumer Health; as we now know RB subsequently pulled out of the bidding. Briefly, that left “the last woman standing”, GSK’s Emma Walmsley, but GSK like RB was unprepared to pay the $20bn that seems the generally-accepted valuation for PCH. As readers of this column know, my thinking had tilted towards “no sale” in the past few weeks, and unless there is a last-minute change of heart, the likelihood is that Pfizer will keep its CHC division and look at other options: retain and grow; spin off; make a j-v.”

Pfizer OTC up for sale: How the OTC industry could be transformed

Near the end of last week, a Reuters news story broke indicating that Pfizer would be opening an auction process for its OTC business as early as this November, and that preliminary discussions had already taken place. GSK and RB have been tipped as frontrunners in securing a deal, though P&G, Sanofi, J&J and Nestlé have also been cited as possible bidders.

In Friday’s OTC.Newsflash bulletin, Nicholas Hall stated that there could possibly be 3-4 strategic buyers in the final bidding, and that the eventual selling price of Pfizer’s OTC unit could rise above US$20bn.

During GSK’s Q3 2017 results presentation, CEO Emma Walmsley confirmed that the company is interested in bidding for Pfizer’s OTC division and “building up our Consumer business”. However, there was a note of caution when the GSK CEO stated that “our first focus in capital allocation was clearly around our biggest business in Pharma, and R&D within that”. 

Using the latest DB6 figures for the MAT Q2 2017 period, now available on the OTC DASHBOARD website, we have created a graph below showing how the global Top 5 in the OTC industry would be transformed if GSK was to snap us Pfizer’s OTC business (assuming, of course, that there wouldn’t be any divestments):

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As you can see, the deal would put GSK far ahead of its rivals, and make it the standout OTC marketer in what it is currently a very tight and competitive Top 4. Likewise, we also analysed the data to see the impact of RB acquiring Pfizer’s OTC unit on the global Top 5 and again the result would likely be a clear new global No.1:

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As ever, it’s hard to be sure how the situation will unfold, and it’s possible that Pfizer may even decide to hold on to its OTC business, but whatever happens we’ll be sure to keep you updated with the latest news and analysis here at OTC DASHBOARD.

Nicholas Hall’s Latin American conference: Day 1

Our special correspondent Holly Parmenter reports back on Day 1 proceedings at Nicholas Hall & Company’s 2nd Latin America conference in Miami, Florida.

With the theme of From Recession to Recovery: Analysing Latin America’s Return to Growth, the conference opened with Nicholas Hall’s update and annual report. The annual report discussed the recent OTC successes, and the changes and challenges impacting consumer health. Nicholas Hall focused on fast-growing categories such as the success of intranasal allergy sprays, OTC contraceptives and the implication of switch for erectile dysfunction treatments.

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Key speakers of the day were Alonso Botero of Tecnoquimicas, who shared his views on the Colombian OTC market, explaining its monumental growth and how it has become the fifth fastest-growing country of the century.

Former General Manager of GSK Consumer Healthcare Brazil, Simone Torres Soares, gave a presentation on digital opportunities within OTC brand marketing and discussed how digital can impact our business model and change the OTC industry.

Ed Rowland, Founder and Managing Partner of Rowland Global LLC, covered the upside of devaluation and growth in Mexico stating that e-commerce is coming with a force, looking to drive growth in Mexico through social media in a 3-5 year timeframe.

Abbott Nutrition General Manager, Carlos Andrade, gave some perspective on the current economic crisis in Brazil, while also stating the country’s resilience.

Thorsten Umland, VP and Head, Business Development & Licensing Consumer Health, Bayer, concluded the presentations with a Global OTC M&A Landscape.

We will be bringing you a fuller, more in-depth report on proceedings in next week’s blog.

GSK helps Indian runners breathe better

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Mist machines touting the logo of nasal decongestant, Otrivin, cleared the air of pollution for athletes in India this spring when GSK sponsored the Amity Gurgaon Half Marathon. The full length of the marathon track was sprayed by Otrivin cannons before the event and then, as testing indicated poor air quality during the race, the cannons were moved to those locations where the mist cleared the air of floating particles of pollution.

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Otrivin has always helped people to Breathe Better,” commented Saurabh Nandi, GSK Marketing Lead, Pain and Respiratory. “A marathon is extremely relevant for us to partner with, as runners need clean air to breathe as they run, and more so in a city like Gurgaon. This association is more than just a classical sponsorship; we want to help people enjoy their run more by providing cleaner air.”

“Our insight was simple; when we go for a run after heavy rain, the air feels so much cleaner. The question was – can we make it rain artificially in a specific location, during a time-restricted event? ” added Jan Teulingkx, Global Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi, Switzerland, which developed the campaign

To learn about other ways OTCs are helping fight the effects of air pollution and other respiratory conditions in Asia, click below to read the latest issue of Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific:

Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific